A Little Girl Lost

Archive for the ‘broken’ Category

Planting Seeds

Looking back over my life, I see God’s hand in every day, even before I knew Him.

Though I had made a profession of faith in my twenty’s, I was far from Christ. I felt I was drowning in a sea of personal sin I didn’t dare share with my Christian friends.
Fear of their judgement scared me in to my own private hell.

Then I went to a retreat where I heard Christians talk about their sins and God’s forgiving heart. My shell shattered and I cried out to Him and found freedom in the love and forgiveness He held for me. I made a promise then, “I’m going to tell everyone I meet about Jesus.” And I did. Friends turned away and “perceived enemies” became brothers and sisters.

Eight months later an accident severed my spinal cord. I came home weak and weary six months and nine days after my injury. My power wheelchair had one true asset then—it reclined. I withdrew from life, laid back and hid behind veiled eyes. I refused to face my future.

The cost was high in body, mind and spirit, but God’s blessings are phenomenal. In His infinite wisdom, He prepared the way. Earl had served as a hospital chaplain on a reconstructive surgery floor where many of the patients had a spinal cord injury. In rehab, the staff taught us how to take care of me at home. According to them, I would live to within five years of my natural lifespan if I had something to look forward to and got out of the house routinely.

Earl took me on nearly every pastoral visit and preachers meeting he went to, but I just leaned back in my wheelchair with my eyes closed. He encouraged me to keep a journal and try teaching Sunday school. He loved me even when I failed.

As I filled those roles with study and preparation, I learned more than I taught. I read the story about how David sinned but was a man after God’s heart.* Job lost everything yet said, “Though He slay me, yet I will trust Him.”** I began sharing my story of God’s faithfulness again and grew stronger in my faith each time. I wrote my brief story and passed it out as a tract to everyone who spoke to me.

While in a small group studying Steve Harper’s Devotional Life in the Wesleyan Tradition many years later, a friend pointed out my seemingly fearless sharing of my faith. I made light of it, “I just tell what God has done for me, but I’ve never led anyone to accept Christ.”

She said, “You may not have, but you have planted many seeds. You may never know until you get to heaven how many people are there because of your testimony.”

Those words have encouraged me to be bold as I tell my stories of His faithfulness to friends and strangers. Old and young. Churched and un-churched. In stores, in doctors offices or on the telephone with sales associates. Earl says, “Imagine that, Berta’s talking.”

Jesus tells us to make disciples. You too can plant and water to prepare hearts for God’s harvest. Trust Him and tell what He has done for you.

Paul wrote, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:6 NRSV).

In Christian Love,

Berta

*Acts 13:22 KJV
**Job 13:15 KJV
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A Crown of Thorns

After my accident in 1991, I remember:

When I looked up, all I could see was a black metal circle and two screws sticking out of my forehead. There were two more screws behind my ears. We called it my “crown of thorns.” Four bars connected the circle to a leather vest. It had kept my neck still for three months so the broken bones could fuse.

One day, a doctor I’d never seen before came into my room and said, “I’m going to remove your halo screws today. The x-rays they took yesterday show the bones in your neck are fused. When was your vest taken off and the cervical collar put on?”

“Yesterday, after the x-rays,” I whispered through my tracheostomy.

“Good,” she said. Showing me a wrench she’d brought in she continued, “Now this won’t hurt.”

At first, all I felt was pressure as each screw was turned, but it must have looked awful because my sister, Bobbi, was sitting on the floor in front of me holding my hand and crying.

“Ouch!” It was hurting.

Nobody was paying attention to me. Finally, Bobbi felt me move my hand, looked up and saw my distress.

“My hair!” I mouthed.

Some hair had twisted around the screw and the doctor didn’t know what to do. “I can’t screw it back in.”

“Cut it!” I cried.

A few minutes later, “Well the last screw is out. How does that feel?”

The pain and muscle spasms in my neck were unbelievable. I had to lean back and let the headrest on my wheelchair support me. Frustrated, I couldn’t understand why this was happening to me.

As I sat in tears, God reminded me it was Good Friday. Traditionally, it was the day Jesus’ Crown of Thorns was placed on His head. – Today mine was removed.

Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:4-5 NIV)

My crown of thorns was insignificant. His Crown of Thorns was my healing.

In Christ Alone,
Berta

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